1. Why was this notice issued?
This notice was issued because you have the right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, and after objections and appeals are resolved, a Claims Administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the Settlement allows. This document explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. The Judge in charge of this case is Judge J. Phil Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The case is known as City of Greenville v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., and Syngenta AG, Case No. 3:10-cv-00188- JPG-PMF. The definitions of various terms used in this notice can be found in the Settlement Agreement. To view a copy of Settlement Agreement, please visit the Case Documents on this website.
2. What is this lawsuit about?
Atrazine is an herbicide marketed by companies including Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC that has been found in some Community Water Systems’ raw and finished water. Under EPA requirements, finished water can contain a maximum concentration of 3 ppb atrazine as an annual average. 56 Fed. Reg. 3526-01 (Jan. 30, 1991); § 40 CFR 141.50(b). The lawsuit claims that atrazine at any level injures Community Water Systems’ water supplies. The lawsuit requests that Defendants Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC and Syngenta AG (collectively, “Syngenta”) bear the cost of removing the herbicide atrazine from Community Water Systems’ water supplies. Syngenta has denied the allegations in the lawsuit and asserts that atrazine has been repeatedly and safely used for over 50 years.
3. What is atrazine?
Atrazine (2-chloro-4 ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) is an herbicide that is used mainly to control weeds on corn, sorghum, sugar cane and some specialty crops. Atrazine is one of the most widely-used herbicides in the United States, and, due to runoff from fields where it has been applied, has been found in some ground and surface waters.
4. What is a class action and why was this case filed as a class action?
In a class action, one or more people or entities called class representatives sue on behalf of the others like them. The class representatives in this case are the City of Greenville, Illinois; Village of Coulterville, Illinois; Village of Evansville, Illinois; Village of Farina, Illinois; City of Gillespie, Illinois; City of Cameron, Missouri; City of Concordia, Missouri; City of Carbondale, Kansas; City of Marion, Kansas; Miami County Rural Water District No. 2; City of Oswego, Kansas; City of Jasper, Indiana; Village of Monroeville, Ohio; City of Upper Sandusky Ohio; Creston Municipal Utilities; Illinois- American Water Company; Missouri- American Water Company; Indiana- American Water Company Inc.; Iowa-American Water Company; Ohio-American Water Company; Chariton Municipal Waterworks; and Village of Ottawa, Ohio. These entities, and all Community Water Systems with a measurable concentration of atrazine in their raw or finished water, are Class Members for purposes of this Settlement. In a class action lawsuit, one court resolves the case for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class. The Court decided that this lawsuit could proceed as a class action for the purpose of settlement because it meets the requirements for a class action settlement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal court.
5. Why is there a Settlement?
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to this Settlement. That way, they avoid the burden and expense of further litigation, and any Community Water Systems that are Class Members and that do not opt out will receive some compensation. The Class representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for all Class Members.
6. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?
To understand whether you are a part of the Settlement, you will need to understand the following terms:
Class Member means any Community Water System in the United States of America for which any Qualifying Test Result shows any Measurable Concentration of atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine).
Class Period means the period without limit as to the past and ending on August 28, 2012.
Community Water System is defined by 42 U.S.C. § 300f(15) (2006): “a public water system that – (A) serves at least 15 service connections used by year- round residents of the area served by the system; or (B) regularly serves at least 25 yearround residents.”
A Qualifying Test Result is a result of analytical testing of the Class Member’s Water performed during the Class Period using any state or federal agency-approved analytical method.
Measurable Concentration means a concentration equal to or greater than the limit of the quantitation of the analytical method used.
Water in this lawsuit means water in which a Class Member possesses a legal or equitable right, title or interest, and that is drawn from a lake, reservoir, river, stream, creek, well or other source of water used by the Class Member to provide drinking water, including such drinking water.
7. Help me understand whether I am included.
Class Membership is not complicated. To see if you are a Class Member ask yourself this series of questions:
8. I’m still not sure if I am included.
If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can call toll-free 1-866-329-7832, or write to Syngenta Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 2002, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2002, for more information.
9. Are individuals Class Members?
No. The Class is limited to Community Water Systems, which is defined in federal law 42 U.S.C. § 300f(15) (2006) as a “public water system that (A) serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents of the area served by the system; or (B)
regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.”.
10. What does the Settlement provide?
The Settlement provides for a Settlement Fund in the total amount of $105 million. Class Members who submit an approved claim will receive a share of the Settlement Fund after payment of legal fees and costs, including the cost to notify you of the Settlement and to administer it. Class Counsel estimate that the number of Class Members eligible to receive a payment is approximately 2,000. The share of each claimant will be determined using a Court-approved formula that first provides a fixed payment designed to offset the cost of testing for atrazine, and then distributes the remainder on a pro-rata basis based on evidence of the significance of the Class Member’s detects of atrazine, its size, and the age of its proof. Generally, if you processed more water or frequently had high concentrations of atrazine, you are eligible for more money; if you processed less water or your atrazine experience was sporadic or limited, you will get less money. Until each claim is received and analyzed, you will not know the amount you will receive for your claim. All of the $105 million, less the fees and costs mentioned above, will be distributed to Class Members. If less than 100% of the Class submit a claim, you could get more money. If claims exceed the funds available, payments will be reduced on a pro-rata basis. More details concerning the allocation of the Settlement Fund can be found in the Settlement Agreement available at the Case Documents on this website.
11. How can I get a payment?
To qualify for payment, you must submit a completed claim form to the Claims Administrator. You may submit a claim form online at www.atrazinesettlement.com. Additionally, you may download a paper claim form at www.atrazinesettlement.com.
When submitting a claim, please read the claim form instructions carefully, complete the claim form, sign it, and submit it no later than August 28, 2012. A claim form is complete if all required information is provided, it is certified to be complete and accurate, and it is timely submitted or postmarked. Class Counsel will verify the accuracy of the information and approve the claim for payment if appropriate. Increased scrutiny may be given to each sample result that does not appear in PLEX, VMP, ARP, AMP, SMP, SCMP, or SVMP records, is generated from an analytical method other than immunoassay, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS); gas chromatography with nitrogen phosphorus detection (GC/NPD); high-performance liquid chromatography, (HPLC); or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS or LC-MS-MS), or that is in the highest 0.1% of sample results for all claimants. You may be asked for additional documentation to support your claim. The Court may also review your claim.
12. When would I get my payment?
The Court will hold a hearing on October 22, 2012 at 1:30 p.m., to decide whether to finally approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, there could be appeals. Resolving these appeals takes time, perhaps several months or years. Everyone who sends in a claim form will be informed of the progress of the Settlement via updates on the www.atrazinesettlement.com website. Please be patient.
13. What am I giving up to stay in the Class and get a payment?
You will be releasing all claims that were brought or could have been brought in this lawsuit against Syngenta and other entities as described in No. 21. The definitions of Released Parties and Released Claims and additional information on Released Claims can be found in the Settlement Agreement at www.atrazinesettlement.com. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit regarding the presence of atrazine in your drinking water or your water sources for the next 10 years. However, you will still be able to bring any claim that arises from future point-source contamination (as defined in Section 502(14) of the Clean Water Act) resulting from the Released Parties’ development, manufacture, formulation, distribution, transportation, storage, loading, mixing application, or use of atrazine or products that contain atrazine as an active ingredient or any claim against any applicator or user of any product that contains atrazine as an active ingredient arising from the presence of Atrazine in the Releasing Parties’ Water as a result of any use of such product not in accordance with the precautionary statements and instructions for use on the label of such product.
14. What happens if I do nothing at all?
You get no payment and you won’t be able to start, continue, or be a part of any other lawsuit against Syngenta and the other Released Parties about the legal issues in this case.
15. What happens if I exclude myself?
You get no payment. You maintain the ability to bring or continue a lawsuit against Syngenta and other entities regarding the claims made in this lawsuit.
16. How do I ask to be excluded?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement you must follow the steps listed at No. 20, below. If you don’t want a payment from this Settlement, but you want to keep the ability to sue Syngenta regarding the legal claims in this case, then you must take steps to get out. This is called excluding yourself -- or is sometimes referred to as opting out of the class.
17. Do I have a lawyer in the case?
The Court appointed Stephen M. Tillery and the law firm of Korein Tillery LLC., of St. Louis, Missouri; and Scott Summy and the law firm of Baron & Budd P.C., of Dallas, Texas to represent you as “Class Counsel.”
They may be contacted at:
Stephen M. Tillery
Korein Tillery, LLC
505 North 7th Street, Suite 3600
St. Louis, MO 63101-1625
Phone: (888) 837-8324
Fax: (314) 241-3525
Baron & Budd, P.C.
3102 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 1100
Dallas, TX 75219-4281
Phone: (214) 384-1913
Fax: (214) 520-1181
18. Should I get my own lawyer?
You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But you may enter an appearance through an attorney if you choose to do so at your own expense. For example, you can ask an attorney to appear in Court for you
if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you. You should contact your lawyer about this Notice if you still have any questions.
19. How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will ask the Court for legal fees not to exceed 33 ⅓% of the Settlement Fund, plus court approved costs and administrative expenses including the cost to notify you of this Settlement and to administer it. These amounts represent the legal fees and costs for the years Class Counsel has litigated this dispute. The amounts sought will pay Class Counsel for the time they spent litigating this dispute and assuming the risk of bringing the action on your behalf. The Court may award less than the amount requested.
20. How do I get out of the Settlement?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a written and signed statement entitled “Request for Exclusion” saying that you want to be excluded from City of Greenville, et al., v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., and Syngenta AG. The Request for Exclusion must certify that you are legally authorized to exclude the Class Member from the Settlement and you must provide an affidavit or other proof of the Class Member’s eligibility to take part in this Settlement. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Also, please include your facsimile number or email address, if available. Your Request for Exclusion must be postmarked no later than August 28, 2012, and mailed to:
Syngenta Settlement Administrator - Exclusion Request
P.O. Box 2002
Chanhassen, MN 55317-2002
You can’t exclude yourself by telephone or e-mail. If you mail a Request for Exclusion, you will not get any Settlement payment, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. If you claim to have injuries from the presence of atrazine in your water and you exclude yourself, you retain the ability to sue in the future.
21. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the ability to sue Syngenta and the other Released Parties for the claims that this Settlement resolves.
Specifically, you will be releasing Defendants (Syngenta Crop Protection LLC and Syngenta AG) and all other manufacturers, contract manufacturers, research collaborators with Defendants or with such other manufacturers, formulators, distributors, retailers, purchasers, applicators, and users of Atrazine, including the defendants (in addition to the Defendants) in the Litigation, which are Sipcam Agro USA, Inc., Growmark, Inc., Drexel Chemical Co., United Agri Products, Makhteshim-Agan of North America, Inc. and Dow Agrosciences LLC, and their present and former parents, subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, stockholders, benefit plans, officers, directors, employees, attorneys, insurers, agents and any of their legal representatives, and the predecessors, heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns of each of them from all claims of the Releasing Parties arising out of, or relating to, the presence of Atrazine in the Releasing Parties’ Water as a result of the development, manufacture, formulation, distribution, transportation, storage, loading, mixing, application, or use of atrazine (2-chloro-4 ethylamino-6-isopropylaminos- triazine) or products that contain atrazine (2-chloro-4 ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) as an active ingredient that any Releasing Party asserted or could have asserted in the Litigation. Released Claims shall not include any claim for indemnity, contribution among joint tortfeasers or apportionment of liability or fault, with respect to any claim against a Releasing Party, arising from the consumption of the Releasing Parties’ Water, that is not a claim for property damage or economic loss.
In addition, upon entry of the Final Judgment, you will be deemed to have granted the Released Parties an irrevocable, nonexclusive, transferrable license for a period of ten (10) years commencing with the date that is the earlier of Final Judgment or July 1, 2014, holding them harmless for all Released Claims or claims which, had they accrued prior to Final Judgment, would have been Released Claims. See Uhl v. Thoroughbred Tech. & Telecomms., Inc., 309 F.3d 978 (7th Cir. 2002). Provided however, that this license shall not apply to any claim arising from point-source contamination, as defined in Section 502(14) of the Clean Water Act, resulting from the Released Parties’ development, manufacture, formulation, distribution, transportation, storage, loading, mixing application, or use of atrazine (2-chloro-4 ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) or products that contain atrazine (2-chloro-4 ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) as an active ingredient or to any claim against any applicator or user of any product that contains atrazine (2-chloro-4 ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) as an active ingredient arising from the presence of Atrazine in the Releasing Parties’ Water as a result of any use of such product not in accordance with the precautionary statements and instructions for use on the label of such product.
The definitions of Releasing Parties, Released Parties and Released Claims and additional information on Released Claims can be found in the Settlement Agreement at www.atrazinesettlement.com.
22. If I exclude myself, can I get money from the Settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself, you cannot receive payment under the Settlement.
23. How do I tell the Court that I either like the Settlement or don’t like the Settlement?
If you’re a Class Member, you can write the Court and state that you approve of the Settlement or some part of it. You can also object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should approve the Settlement or not approve it. The Court will consider your views.
To object, you must file a written, signed statement titled “Objection” with the Court saying that you object to the proposed Settlement in City of Greenville, et al., v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., and Syngenta AG, Case No. 3:10-cv-00188-JPG-PMF. Your statement must include:
- An affidavit or other proof demonstrating the Class Member’s eligibility to be part of this Settlement;
- A certification that the filer has been legally authorized to object on behalf of the Class Member;
- Your reasons for objecting to the Settlement;
- Any legal support or other evidence you wish the Court to consider;
- The name, address, telephone and facsimile number and email address (if available) of the filer and Class Member;
- A statement that you would like to address the Court at the Fairness Hearing, if you wish to do so; and
- If you choose to be represented by your own attorney at your own expense, your attorney’s contact information, including name address, telephone and facsimile number and email address (if available).
Any party who is represented by an attorney must file the objection electronically with the Court through the Court’s Electronic Case Filing (“ECF”) system . If you represent yourself, you may file your objection with the Court by mailing or personally delivering your letter to the Court address below, or you may electronically file it. Corporations cannot represent themselves. Nocula v. UGS Corp., 520 F.3d 719, 725 (7th Cir. 2008). You must also send a copy of your objection to the Class Counsel and Defense Counsel at the addresses listed below.
For assistance with using the Electronic Case Filing system, e-mail questions to email@example.com or contact the ECF help desk at (866) 867-3169 (East St. Louis) or (866) 222-2104 (Benton). Clerk’s office personnel are available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST Monday thru Friday.
Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, your signature, the case name, the required certification and evidence of class membership and the reasons you object to the Settlement with your filing. Transmit the objection to these three different places postmarked no later than August 28, 2012:
File electronically through ECF.
Clerk of the Court
301 West Main Street
Benton, IL 62812
Stephen M. Tillery
Korein Tillery LLC
505 N. 7th Street, Suite 3600
St. Louis, MO 63101
Michael A. Pope
McDermott Will & Emery
227 W. Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60614
24. What is the difference between objecting and excluding?
Objecting is formally telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement and that you believe the Settlement should be rejected. You can object only if you stay in the class. If the Settlement is approved you will give up your ability to sue for the claims the Settlement resolves. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.
25. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Honorable J. Phil Gilbert will hold a Fairness Hearing at 1:30 p.m. on October 22, 2012, at 301 W. Main Street, Benton, Illinois 62812.
At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. Judge Gilbert will listen to Class Members who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court will also decide how much to pay Class Counsel. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement Agreement. We do not know how long these decisions will take. If the Court approves the Settlement Agreement, then payments for approved claims will be mailed to you. If the Court does not approve the Settlement Agreement, then the parties will continue to litigate the case in Court.
26. Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer questions Judge Gilbert may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you filed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.
27. May I speak at the hearing?
You may speak at the Fairness Hearing if you wish to support the Settlement or oppose the Settlement. In order to object to the settlement you must follow the instructions in No. 23. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself.
28. What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you are a Class Member and you do nothing, you’ll get no money from this Settlement and you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit about the legal issues in this case. Please see No. 21 for more information about the claims you are releasing as a Class Member.
29. Are there more details available?
This Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are available in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by visiting the website at www.atrazinesettlement.com or call 1-866-329-7832 toll-free. Or write to: Syngenta Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 2002, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2002 to find more information.
Please go to the "Submit A Claim" tab (available on or before June 11, 2012) to submit your claim form or contact the Claims Administrator at 1-866-329-7832.
DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT FOR INFORMATION.